Fed Women In Technology: Mentoring Women Towards STEM

The Federal Reserve of KC Women In Technology (FedWIT) Diversity and Inclusion Summit was held on Wednesday, September 30, from 3-6 pm, at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City (The KC Fed). The KC Fed and the Money Museum share one of KC’s high precipices along side of the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial and in view of the KC business skyline.



Mentoring Women towards STEM was the theme at the Diversity and Inclusion summit, which is one of a series of events focussing on Women In Technology. Moderator Andrea Hendricks, assistant vice president, deputy director of the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion at The KC Fed, explained that the summit format, versus a more formal conference format, was designed to engage the participants and take them (us) to a different level or height in the discussion of Women in Technology.



Esther George is president and CEO of the Fed KC. The Missouri native is a member of the Federal Open Market Committee, which has authority over U.S. monetary policy. Her opening remarks established the Fed’s longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. George challenged participants to “take back” and practice insights presented in the summit, in their own environments and to continue to listen and dialogue for a stronger workforce.

Julie Kantor

Julie Kantor -Keynote Speaker AsToldByMiKO

Keynote speaker, Julie Kantor, vice president and chief partnership officer at STEMconnector and Million Women Mentors (MWM) came packed with  statistics to illustrate the huge impact that mentoring has on the environment for women in technology from high school, college and into industry. Women represent 50% of the general workforce and 24% of the STEM workforce.

STEM Statistics 
When you look at 15 million high school seniors interested in STEM careers,
  • 15% of girls and
  • 44% of boys

Out of those 15% of girls interested in STEM careers,

  • 4% were encouraged to go into STEM by mentors and
  • 22% want to learn more about mentoring.

STEM Jobs pay women way better:

  • $0.92 STEM jobs vs $0.76 non STEM jobs.

Steps for Successful Mentoring

Kantor highlighted important steps to take to establish a successful mentoring program.

5 Pathways to Mentor 20 hours (minimum)/year
1. Face to Face Mentoring
2. Online Mentoring
3. Paid internships or apprenticeships
4. Workplace mentoring at your company
5. Sponsorships (and Hire)

Sponsorship vs. Mentoring

What’s the difference between a Mentor and a Sponsor?
If you compare your career to a tree, a mentor will help you climb up higher on the tree (what steps to take, educational decisions). Whereas, a sponsor will go out on a limb for you (go to bat behind the scenes, helping to promote your work which can aid in promotion and salary negotiations).

For this reason, the mentee must be ready to carry the weight of showing up for her mentor or sponsor.

Mentoring women and minorities injects diversity into the workplace. One study shows that diverse teams are often winning teams.
Career measurements of Mentored employees vs non-Mentored employees show there are:
  • 6x’s more promotions for mentored employees.
  • 25% mentored vs. 5% non-mentored salary grade changes.
  • 20% higher retention rates for mentored employees.
Meanwhile, 50% of women who reach the 10 year point in technical careers quit. Reasons for this midcareer breaking point include:
  • bias and gender stereotypes,
  • lack of clear performance incentives and
  • lack of sponsorship.
Kantor’s call to action for the summit participants:
  • Identify incentives to help the mentee go the extra mile.
  • Think of the girls/women who you may be in the position to mentor and schedule coffee, meet up with them and get to know them better.
(For a similar copy of her slide presentation, see Million Women Mentors Update – http://www.slideshare.net/Juliek.)



2 thoughts on “Fed Women In Technology: Mentoring Women Towards STEM

  1. Pingback: Fed Women In Technology Summit Panel | AsToldByMIKO

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